The racial epithet leapt from the chalkboard.
It was listed along with other emotionally charged words designed to illustrate the power of language in an introductory lesson to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
For 17-year-old Ibrahim Mohamed, encountering such a hateful word written so clearly in front of him was painful.
So he asked his teacher to shorten it to the "N-word."
He said his request was met with questions from his teacher.
"She asked me: 'Does it offend you? It hurts, doesn't it?'" he said. "To me, it was cruel the way it was presented. It didn't help the lesson at all. It showed improper judgment."
The recent incident, which angered local black and Muslim leaders, illustrates the sharp divide that often develops when trying to teach the book, which was written when words now considered slurs were commonly used.
Ibrahim, a junior at Richland High School in North Richland Hills, complained to his mother and the principal. The lone black student in the class, he said the questioning by his teacher made him feel unnecessarily singled out. . .
Ibrahim's mother wants the book banned. A group calling itself "The Coalition to Stop the N-Word" met with the Birdville ISD superintendent on Wednesday, seeking a written apology for the family and sensitivity training for teachers.
The coalition is made up of members of the Dallas chapters of the National Black United Front, the New Black Panther Party, the Nation of Islam, the Black Coalition to Maximize Education, and the NAACP. It also includes DISD board member Ron Price, the Islamic Center of Irving and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. (MORE)